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Concerns as 198 of 470 new cases found in capital

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Dr Ronan Glynn

Dr Ronan Glynn

Colin Keegan

Dr Ronan Glynn

The spread of Covid-19 in Dublin remains high as it recorded 198 of the 470 new cases of the virus yesterday.

Next week will be crucial for the capital and county to see if the Level 3 measures imposed two weeks ago are working.

Meanwhile, more counties have been put on notice they could be subjected to tougher restrictions as infections spiralled to 470 yesterday and led to another death.

Acting chief medical officer, Ronan Glynn, revealed the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) considered advising moving the whole country to the same Level 3 clampdown as Dublin and Donegal when it met on Thursday. It decided to hold back "at this time".

However, there is growing alarm at the national picture.

The correspondence on Thursday to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, which led to recommendations that people need to restrict home visits or social outings to one other household, comes amid an ongoing surge in infections.

The Level 3 measures in place in Dublin and Donegal have yet to show significant impact.

There is particular concern about the rise in infections in the 19-24 age group and a call for some measures to ensure the anti-Covid message gets through to them.

Yesterday's virus toll revealed 198 of the new cases were in Dublin despite the curbs having been in place for two weeks.

The other new cases included 61 in Cork, 36 in Donegal, 19 in Kildare, 19 in Limerick, 12 in Kerry, 11 in Galway, 11 in Meath and 10 in Roscommon.

There were a further nine in Cavan, nine in Clare, nine in Kilkenny, nine in Longford, nine in Offaly, nine in Westmeath, eight in Louth, seven in Tipperary and seven in Wexford.

The remaining 17 cases were in seven counties.

Dr Glynn wrote to the minister: "The average numbers of cases identified per day, the seven-day and 14-day incidence rates, and the numbers in hospital and ICU have continued to increase week on week for the last several weeks."

The number of Covid-19 patients in hospital and critical care is increasing rapidly.

There has been a 30pc increase in the number of Covid-19 hospitalisations in the past week. On average over the past week, there have been eight new admissions per day.

The reproduction number is now estimated to be between 1.2 and 1.4. The growth rate in cases is between 4pc-5pc per day, and the doubling time is between 14 and 18 days.

Clusters

Close contact of a confirmed case remains the primary mode of transmission nationally.

The proportion of cases linked to community transmission remains relatively stable.

There is a significant number of active clusters and outbreaks, the majority of which continue to be in private households.

There has been a very sharp rise in incidence in the 19-24-year-old age cohort in the last two weeks, while there continues to be an increase in the number of cases and incidence rate in older people.

He said 18 counties have an increased 14-day incidence rate as compared to figures from last week. The situation in many other counties is deteriorating.

"Nphet advises that the Government give consideration to extending the Level 2 measures currently in place for a further period of three weeks," he said.

"Specifically, the Nphet recommends that Dublin and Donegal to remain at Level 3."

No more than two households should meet at any time. People should only have six visitors from one other household to their home.

Socially, people should also confine themselves to one other household.